Guest Editorial: A Good Financial Forecast

By Virginia Korte

I hope you had a wonderful and safe holiday with time to reflect on the meaning of Memorial Day with your family and friends.

As the end of the City of Scottsdale’s 2017-2018 fiscal year approaches, I have good news: the city’s General Fund revenues are exceeding projections. In addition, operating costs for the same period are less than was originally budgeted.

Current data shows the city’s coffers to be approximately $11 million above the net operating budget. This trend is expected to continue through the close of the fiscal year, June 30th.

Here’s a breakdown of General Fund revenues: Local retail tax collections are exceeding projections by 5%. Building permit fees and related charges are over 6% compared to initial estimates.

Not long ago at the end of most fiscal years, the city’s ledger showed we had tens of millions of dollars in surplus. Those funds were typically invested in capital improvement projects like road repairs, park improvements and updating our libraries. Now, almost 10 years removed from the Great Recession that severely impacted the city’s revenue stream, we now refer to the time prior to 2008 as the “Good Old Days.”

And while $11 million above budget sounds like a lot, it is less than 4% of the city’s operating budget and is not consequential in solving our more than $650 million infrastructure needs.

The city no longer enjoys the significant financial surpluses it once did – and, realistically, may not experience that luxury again any time soon.

In the meantime, I am confident that by working together we will successfully manage these challenges and continue to meet citizen expectations by making fiscally responsible decisions.